Archive for September, 2007
The Silk icon pack available from FamFamFam (also known as Mark Jones) is an excellent pack of free 16×16 pixel icons.
Whilst the pack contains over 1,000 icons I still find plenty of gaps when I am using them and being that there has been no new updates in 18 months I have decided to release my own companion pack of several hundred more icons in the same style.
The new icons fall into one of several types:
- new icons are drawn from scratch in the same style (moon, Apple, decline, text, borders, ruler)
- adjusted/recoloured versions of existing icons (people, database, disk, CD-R, gold star, silver bell)
- new compositions (OS Xx applications, paint+brush, bug fix)
- modifications to existing icons (eaten cake, broken heart, checked flag, bookmark, sorting)
The current companion pack is weighing in at around 300 icons but I expect this number to reach around 400-500 by the middle of next week and then I’ll release them here (under the exact same Creative Commons licence as the original pack).
If you have any suggestions on icons you’d like to see added, leave a comment!
I’ve posted my list of Guernsey Estate Agents as other on-line lists were not comprehensive and prevented bookmarking or copying the address to send to others thanks to the annoying framing they used (so 90′s).
Yes, I’m house-hunting again after my estate agent failed to mention (claimed to be ignorant of the fact) that all the lovely fields and views from my proposed home were already marked as a target housing area by the States of Guernsey as part of their Urban Area Plan (PDF, 5Mb).
These sites were set in 2002 and number just five. I wonder how long these people would last in IT if they took such an active disinterest in their field?
One of the things I love about Apple is the way they enhance Mac OS X with great features for other developers to leverage. Built-in spell-checking, incredibly rich edit controls, development environment and the recent Core frameworks are such additions. Core Image allows applications access to real-time hardware-accelerated graphic effects and is used within some of Apple’s own apps for various effects.
Pixelmator is the product of a two-man team that provides Photoshop like abilities for $59. Apple would not ship such a product for fear of further upsetting Adobe.
Whilst Pixelmator bears a resemblance to Photoshop and will happily open PSD files the user interface is very clean and easy to use and the Core Image filters and correction tools deliver their results in real-time. No more of the tweak-wait-look cycle Photoshop forced us into and gazing at CPU benchmarks working out which combination of processor and OS would be better.
The GPU is king.
Pixelmator also delivers the usual array of painting, manipulation and selection tools, a variety of brushes, layers, gradients, support for 100 file formats, metadata access etc. It integrates with other Mac technologies including the iSight (new layer), Spotlight (search meta), iPhoto, ColorSync, Dashboard (file conversion), Automator and leverages various open-source technologies including ImageMagick, Gradient Panel, Cairo, Sparkle (software update).
Future versions will include integration with Aperture (yes!), RAW file support, .Mac syncing (brushes, swatches etc.) and perhaps even vector support (probably utilising Cairo).
Gruber had concerns Pixelmator was just vapourware which is now obviously not the case. I’m still waiting for Delicious Library 2 and Midnight Inbox 2 although I have a pre-release of OmniFocus I am allowed to write about if people are interested…
I really want to like MonoRail but I find it difficult to feel the love no matter how much I desire Rails-like features without the scalability issues and unusual syntax/learning curve of Ruby.
Here’s my list of concerns:
Slow release cycle
The current release is 1.0 RC2 which was released November 1, 2006. That’s some 10 months ago and yet we have no RC3 or final release.
Part of the hold-up seems to be trying work out what to include and exclude, which brings me onto my next point…
Abandoning convention over configuration?
One guiding principle behind Ruby on Rails is Convention over Configuration. This means that instead of allowing you to configure everything to the nth degree a single ‘conventional’ approach is taken..
This results in an gentler learning curve with less to configure and is generally part of KISS.
The Castle Project’s take on this philosophy is a little off by providing you with a combination of view engines and IoC interfaces to chose from.
In the case of view engines neither NVelocity or Brail support C# or VB.NET which does mean you need to learn another language for writing your views and loose syntax highlighting and IntelliSense in the process.
If I was prepared to accept all that I might as well switch to Ruby on Rails.
The WebForm view engine supports C# but has a number of limitations and uses what I was trying to get away from in the first place (WebForms).
Ken Egozi has come up with a C# based view engine that avoids WebForms confusingly named AspView.
With Inversion of Control whether you use the MicroKernel directly or the Windsor Container wrapper is up to you and I hope you figure out which to use better than I did.
Castle Project web site
Looks good however needs better maintenance/management:
- Wiki contains spam (FAQ, Tutorial, Tips and Tricks etc.)
- Samples download returns a 404 not found
- Enabling Inversion of Control is an empty stub yet is linked from the main intro page
I couldn’t find anything about how navigation/site maps are managed.
Castle Project say their projects are independent and they should consider breaking them into separate downloads with individual release cycles to keep the pieces moving independently and competitively.
Microsoft are working on an MVC engine for ASP.NET themselves. Whilst Microsoft’s track record with user interface tool kits is less than spectacular the recent work with LINQ and knowing that both Scott Guthrie and now Phil Haack are on the team inspires more confidence.
Until they release a CTP and a timetable however this can’t be seriously considered especially for projects that need to start soon. I’m hoping we’ll see a similar cycle to the AJAX and Control Adapters where early access & final versions were available that hooked in to currently shipping versions of .NET and Visual Studio so that we’re not waiting for .NET 4.0.